Cookies and cocaine: Oreos may be just as addictive as drugs - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Cookies and cocaine: Oreos may be just as addictive as drugs

A 2012 study by Harvard University, 10,000 years ago fat and sugar were scarce and could keep us alive so our brains would fire off pleasure neurons as a sort of reward when we consumed sugar and fat. A 2012 study by Harvard University, 10,000 years ago fat and sugar were scarce and could keep us alive so our brains would fire off pleasure neurons as a sort of reward when we consumed sugar and fat.
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A study just released by Connecticut College has found "America's favorite cookie" may be just as addictive as cocaine. Yes, we're talking about Oreos.

The study was done with lab rats, not people, but the rats ate the cookies from the inside out just like a lot of people do.

Personally I rarely buy Oreos because I find myself eating half the bag. Do others have the same issue? The best way to find out is to open a bag. Double stuff should make it twice as tempting.

One man I asked, Reggie Crutcher, agrees.

"Once you eat this one then you want another one," Reggie said.

"That is the problem," I commented.

"But it's because it's sweet, not because it's a drug," Reggie added.

The Connecticut College study showed lab rat's pleasure center in their brains had more activity from sugar than from cocaine or morphine.

When placed in a maze with Oreos at one end and rice cakes in the other the rats went for the cookies, and would return to the same spot even if there weren't any there.

The rats acted the same way given a choice between saline and cocaine.

A 2012 study by Harvard University, 10,000 years ago fat and sugar were scarce and could keep us alive so our brains would fire off pleasure neurons as a sort of reward when we consumed sugar and fat.

There is USDA research that states today we consume 52 teaspoons of sugar a day, on average. 10,000 years ago people could only get around 22 teaspoons a year.

Now we can have all the sugar and fat we want, but the wiring hasn't changed.

Dr. Jerry Bettinger is a neurologist and says the brain's pleasure center is the limbic system, which is very complex and varies from person to person.

"Eating sugar and sugary doughnuts may be more pleasurable than eating a bowl of rice and the addict may choose cocaine over methamphetamine or a drug that you could get in a store because of the difference in the responses of those," Dr. Bettinger said.

A third study gave rats the choice between intravenous cocaine and saccharine-water. 94 percent of the lab rats chose sweet water.

The research showed the reward to the brain was so high it could override self-control mechanisms and lead to addiction.

The Connecticut study chose Oreos because they have been called "America's favorite cookie", and because rats really love them too.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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